Less than a week after the first flu-related death was identified in El Paso, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health has confirmed a second flu-related fatality.
This second death this season involves a woman in her 80’s who had underlying medical conditions. It is not known if she had received a flu vaccine for this flu season.
There were a total of two flu-related deaths in El Paso last season.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of these individuals during this difficult time,” said Robert Resendes, Public Health Director. “We ask that our communities take note of the seriousness of the flu virus and take precautions to prevent the spread of the disease so that their deaths are not in vain.”
The flu vaccine is still considered the first line of defense against the disease and El Pasoans should consider that it is not too late to be vaccinated. The flu vaccine is still available at local retail outlets and through the “Vaccinations for Health” program which teams up the El Paso Fire Department with the El Paso Health Department.
Residents of El Paso and Hudspeth County who are 18 and over and do not have medical insurance or are on Medicaid qualify to receive the vaccine along with other services free of charge. The services will be offered March 1, 8, and 29, 2017 at the EPFD Safety Health Outreach Center located at 5415 Trowbridge Dr. from 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The Department of Public Health will team up with the Horizon Fire Department to offer free services that include free flu vaccines on March 13, 2017 at the El Paso County Self-Help Center located at15731 Kentwood Avenue, Horizon, TX, 79928. Services will be offered from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Residents are also asked to practice the “4 C’s” which have proven to be effective in preventing the spread of the flu virus:
- CLEAN – Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
- COVER – Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
- CONTAIN – Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again, so you don’t spread more germs.
- CALL – Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever of greater than 100 degrees.
Influenza activity has been increasing over the past couple of weeks in El Paso and it is likely that flu activity will continue for several more weeks this season, so getting vaccinated now can still provide protection. As of mid-February there have been a total of 1,320 flu cases reported.
More than half of those cases were reported in the first weeks of February. There were a total of 1,684 cases of flu reported at this time during last years’ flu season.
The mission of the City of El Paso Department of Public Health is to Provide Public Health related research, evaluation, education, prevention, intervention, and preparedness services. For more information on the programs and services we provide, please call 2-1-1 or visit www.EPHealth.com